By Gail Marsh
Here’s the scenario: It’s been several weeks since you parked your rig. The campground’s been great! You’ve met interesting folks and enjoyed exploring the nearby “must-see” sights. With everything going so well you can sit back and relax, right? Well, maybe not…
When your RV has been sitting in one spot for a while, it tends to settle. Depending on soil and weather conditions you may find yourself on shaky ground – literally! You might be surprised to learn that your RV will often “tell” you when things are no longer level. It’s true! Here are some things to watch for. If you notice one or more of these phenomena, your RV might be telling you it’s time to level up.
Signs your RV is saying, “Level me!”
- You notice that your screen door sticks. It hasn’t done that before.
- When you shower, the water seems to puddle – and not necessarily near the drain.
- The ceiling fan makes a new/different noise when operating.
- Your cake rises and bakes unevenly in the oven.
- You notice that the jacks are sinking into the ground.
- The refrigerator door begins to squeak.
- The bathroom medicine cabinet swings open on its own.
- A Hungry, Hungry Hippo’s marble rolls under the sofa before you can catch it.
- Windows stick or are difficult to open or close.
- You notice more sway or bounce when someone walks across the floor.
- It’s difficult to adjust the tripod tongue brace (in fifth wheels).
- Pocket doors no longer operate smoothly.
- You find it hard to get a good night’s sleep.
- Basement doors do not close/latch properly.
Can you prevent your RV from settling?
Is there anything you can do to prevent your RV from settling? For starters, make sure you check your assigned RV site before your park. If you notice particularly soft spots or muddy areas (and there hasn’t been a soaking rain recently) ask to be moved to an alternative site, if possible. Be especially careful when parking on grass as the soil beneath grass tends to absorb moisture and become soft. If it happens to rain while you’re parked in the grass, the softened soil may become even softer. Also, notice if your RV will be parked at or near the bottom of a hill or slope. A heavy downpour can wash out the ground underneath your rig’s tires or stabilizers and cause big problems.
It’s not possible to bring along a concrete parking pad when camping. (Don’t I wish!) The next best thing is to pack along pressure-treated boards or premade plastic/rubber stabilizer pads and leveling blocks. Use these to enlarge the surface area of tires, jacks, and other places where your RV makes direct contact with the ground. This will help to keep your rig level.
Pay attention to the weather conditions. If heavy rain is predicted and you are parked in a spot that is already soft, consider moving to another site or changing your trip plans altogether. At the very least, make sure your tires are parked on sufficient plywood.
Why should your rig be level?
Why is it so important to keep your rig leveled? Well, those little aggravations like ill-fitting doors, squeaks, and excess sway can become much bigger issues. While spending time “unlevel,” sway, latches, and squeaks can become worse and components may weaken or even break. Beyond that, the integrity of slide-outs and the RV frame itself can be compromised. Perhaps most importantly, the propane/electric refrigerator must be level to operate properly. If not, you risk ruining the fridge or, even worse, causing a fire!
Don’t let the settling of your RV ruin your next trip. If your RV tries to tell you something – listen!